Vitamin D and 15 Minutes in the Sun

Image Description: A Black person with brown and pink hair wearing a pink blanket over their shoulders gripping the blanket slightly with one hand. They are in front of a pink background.

Art piece by: Cass Archibald

Vitamin D

By: Anita Dias

I think it was the third day. There was a nurse that volunteered a few times a week to host groups and workshops with patients in the psych ward. In this particular group, she highlighted vitamins, minerals and herbs that help combat depression and anxiety. We discussed serotonin levels and the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, magnesium, vitamins B & D. When she mentioned sunlight, and how the lack of vitamin D is one of the main causes of depression, my right hand sprouted up from my lap so quickly I almost uprooted myself from my seat. The nurse hesitated, then she gestured toward me. I asked “So… if the lack of vitamin D is one of the main causes of depression, and we all in here because we depressed or whateva, how come y’all only let us go outside for 15 minutes a day and why are there cages on the windows???” She smiled. Said, “that is very inquisitive of me” or some shit.. Then she told us “luckily, at this time of the year, all you need is 15 minutes in the sun to get your daily dose!” I didn’t bother asking what happens during the winter. When the air is most frigid and suicide levels are at their peak. I was just grateful that it was almost noon. It was almost time to go outside.

“When someone tries to silence you, scream louder.”

15 minutes in the sun

By: Anita Dias

Every day

At noon

We were granted

15 minutes in the sun

A security guard 

Would escort us

From the far wing

Of the hospital

To a concrete courtyard

There was no grass

No trees or dirt

But the sun

Was always there

Always shining

It was a reminder

That light still exists

In darkest of times

The way the sun

Kissed my skin

Was an inclination 

Of love

15 minutes

Never felt so long  

Or warm

Or safe

I thank God

Or the universe

Or whatever power

Existed in those moments

To create this small escape

I thank whomever

For the sun

For the warmth

For the freedom

Anita Dias (she/her) is a Black woman with blonde and brown hair. She is standing next to a beige wall wearing a black dress.

Anita D is a spoken word artist and slam poet born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts. Anita has featured at venues all over San Diego, she has collaborated with artists from Boston, Southern California, and Detroit. Her writings and performances are an inspiration to many. Keep up with Anita via her Facebook page & Twitter.

One thought on “Vitamin D and 15 Minutes in the Sun

  1. Anita, my father, (1907-2009) was born and raised in Brockton, MA. Been there many times. At this point no more family left there, all gone.

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